- Alex Barnhill
Alex Reviews "The Hustle"
“Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” modernized and with two female leads, and those female leads are Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson? Sure! Or not?
This version, called “The Hustle,” follows two con artists, Hathaway’s sophisticated Josephine and Wilson’s crude Penny, matching wits in a challenge over who will stay to continue fleecing rich, male tourists in Beaumont-sur-Mer in the South of France and who leaves town for good. Their rivalry ends up resulting in a bet over who can get half a million dollars (not Euros?) out of a young tech-millionaire vacationing in the French Riviera town.
Outside of the gorgeous filming location of Mallorca, Spain, there is very little positive to be had. I wouldn’t be surprised if this movie leads to a humorous anecdote akin to the one Michael Caine tells of Jaws: The Revenge, which is ironic since this is a remake of Dirty, Rotten Scoundrels in which Caine played this role. The two “scenes” that stood out the most were the opening credits and training montage, even though they did not help the film itself at all. While I didn’t time it, this film either had the longest opening I have ever seen, or it just felt that way. To the other scene, it had absolutely no point as the exercises were generic leftovers from bad spy movies. Why would a con artist need to be training with throwing knives?!? The only bright spot there was watching Hathaway fail to maintain character while Wilson flails throughout the shots.
Despite the picture positing women in the role of power, the film goes extensively out of its way to undo any positive message that the idea of the main characters being above the men they swindle. It would have been OK to change the ending up a bit versus shooting the same film done just over thirty years earlier with a gender swap in the characters.
With so many options available to modern consumers, “The Hustle” should be waaaaaay down the list of options unless bad writing and cheap, shallow laughs are in the plus column for your entertainment options. With so much unnecessary meandering through awkwardness created by Rebel Wilson being Rebel Wilson versus playing a role, this literally was a studio making a movie “just because they could” or hearing Anne Hathaway attached and just letting the crew set millions of dollars on fire.